David Figueroa, developer of the mobile app Augment El Paso, is helping static art come to life in galleries, museums, schools, and even on the streets of his city. The idea was born nearly a decade ago when Figueroa discovered augmented reality technology and quickly used it as a way to grow excitement for and interaction with digital art in El Paso. Figueroa works with artists to take an original stationary piece and design an interactive layer that is visible only by scanning the artwork through the app on a mobile device.
Figueroa is also expanding his project beyond just artwork. “I want to incorporate augmented reality with more historical buildings, especially the ones we’ve lost downtown,” Figueroa says, specifically referring to many designed by architect Henry Trost. He is currently working with El Paso County to create tours of the area’s historic Spanish missions, modeling the original buildings and showing visitors structural parts that no longer exist.
While a significant amount of Figueroa’s work has been displayed through formal exhibitions or events, it can also be viewed through digital or printed reproductions of the artwork, like the images seen in this issue. Our cover image “Sister Cities/Ciudades Hermanas” and created by LxsDos (married artist duo Christian and Ramon Cardenas) and represents the connection between El Paso and neighboring Ciudad Juárez. It is situated in the historic Segundo Barrio neighborhood near the Paso del Norte border crossing and has become one of the city’s most iconic artworks.
Scan the image using the Augment El Paso app, and you will see the mural come to life — the sisters gently sway; eyes and braided hair glow gold; the faces twirl between crisscrossing chains representing the bond of the people. “I wanted to represent [the women] more as deities, or goddesses, to show the power within them,” Figueroa says. “I enjoy bringing the content to life and finding out what media would best represent that image.”
Animate the gallery images by downloading the Augment El Paso app, available at no cost from the Apple App Store and Google Play. More information on the project can be found at augmentelpaso.com.
Rachel Cooper is the communications coordinator for the Texas Society of Architects.